Source: SEOSignalsLab

Pick His Brain!

I’d like to introduce one of our members, Bill Slawski, for our next ‘Pick His Brain’ session and I want to thank him for the participation.

Bill is considered to be one of the most respected SEOs of our time.

Not only is he known for pioneering Google algo detective work by studying patents, but he also continues to share his findings with the world.

Bill is currently the leading expert on SEO-related Google patents, entities, and IR (information retrieval).

If you have any questions about the entities or Google patent-based algorithm insights please feel free to pick his brain.

Here are the rules.

1) I’ll let the thread go on until he asks me to stop. Theoretically, this thread can continue until the FaceBook stock value goes to zero.

2) Please, no snarky remarks. I will not tolerate any intentional negativity. We are here to learn from each other’s successes and strategies.

3) Please do not PM him and bother him. If you have a private question, ask for his permission on this thread when appropriate.

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Table of Contents

What is the best way to pro-actively avoid getting hit with algorithm penalties?

Revisit that Google post that Amit Sighal wrote about 23 questions to ask about your site to make it high quality.

See how well you can answer the ones that apply to your site.

The updates that are quality based, you will be addressed by doing that.…/more-guidance-on…

What’s the best way to learn google algorithm?

Study search results, and sources like patents. Or Google blog posts and developer pages.

What would be your top 3 quick win tips for a brand new site?

1. Build a strong information architecture based upon who your audiences are, and the tasks your site might provide for them to do.

Which means you should be the subject matter expert on your audience or employ one.

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2. Use Google image search to find ontologies on the topics your site is about.

3. Find the questions that matter most to your audiences, and provide better answers than everyone else.

Once you find ontologies of images, what do you do with them? Are you trying to link your own images (based on the ontologies) to the intent of the page? With structured data?

Do an image search for something like Harry Potter and look at all the categories.

Tare all related to your query term, Harry Potter, including related entities.

So consider including those on pages of your site.

1. How did you know SEO and content writing is the route you wanted to go? Was there other alternatives if you didnt choose this route? 2. With so much noise and distraction around us, what would you advice for a person who has alot of passions eg: SEO/ web design / front end dev/linux command line? Stick to one and specialize and move to the next??

I graduated from Law school, and was considering a career as an environmental lawyer.

It seemed to be something that I could help make a difference in the world in.

I have learned a lot about UX and usability, Design and Development.

And that kind of knowledge and experience has helped me talk to others involved in SEO projects, which is really helpful.

It doesn’t hurt to improve your skills in other related fields over time.

So you don’t necessarily need to leave SEO to work exclusively on Design or Development.

I spent * years as an administrator at Cr8asiteforums, which is no longer online.

But covered a wide range of web-related disciplines, and having an outlet like that.

Where I had a chance to talk to SEOs, Designers, Usability and UX practioneers was a good chance to get up to date on new topics in those fields..

What are the Top Factors for local 3 Pack Ranking? Can you suggest a checklist??

1. Distance or proximity

2. Location Prominence

3. Relevance of title/category

Check out Steve’s link – it’s fairly detailed with many of the steps that will be helpfuul.

How do you see SEO industry in the next 5 years? What about the future of E-commerce? What do you think of the schema FAQ, is it just to keep users on Google?

I do see knowledge becomeing more important at Google and Bing.

Which means changes to the way that we do SEO, because both will likely tie search and knowledge graphs together.

Consider signing up for the W3C Schema mailing list to keep on top of changes:

Google has changed the way they analyse the page rank. Any idea how much has it changed? Can we still be dependent on the old formula from the book- Page Rank and Beyond?

We don’t know for certain which approach they replaced the older version of PageRank with.

But that doesn’t stop the fact that links from other sites still have value when pointed to our pages, and the anchor text still has hypertextual relevance value.

So creating content that people will link to is still an important effort to make regardless of which version of PageRank is being used by Google.

And making sure that you have internal linking on your site.

So that all pages on your site are being linked to by other pages on your site is still important.

The PageRank and beyond book does cover adaptive PageRank, in Section 9.1, which is possibly the replacement PageRank being used.

Or Google could be using a version of PageRank that works based on a distance from a trusted set of seed sites.

Regardless of which is being used, links appear to still have value, and make a difference in how well your site may rank.

Do you have any theories on how they curate the trusted seed sites?

No ideas. I tried doing that manually myself, and it is difficult to do.

They do have access to link graphs on the web, so it is likely easier for Google.

Google is focusing more and more on content over links. What do you think, how are they going to analyse the value of page (page rank) in future? Will they deprecate it completely?

Using a link analysis approach, is something Google May continue to do for a while.

Because it is a mature technology, and they have been working using different ones for years.

I wrote about a dozen different ones a few years ago:…/12-google-link-analysis…/

Yes, Google is working on approaches that don’t rely upon links.

Especially for content that has value regardless of the number of links pointed to it.

Such as real-time social media information such as Tweets, or News articles that have more value because they are timely.

But not as much once they have time to accumulate a lot of links.

Google may answer queries using knowledge graph informaton, and doing that may not rely upon links either.

So a query such as “when was Donald Trump born” may not be concerned with links very much.

How will you optimise a content to make sure it ranks well? Just need a basic idea?

Basic Rankings at Google for organic search results usually start with whether content is relevant for a query.

Whether it is supported with links (either external links, or internal links from other pages on your site. That may be a good starting point for most content.

What are your top 3 tips for establishing the entities?

1. Make sure that an entity is unique – check to see if it might be confused with another entity.

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For instance, if you are going to write about the singer/performer, Michael Jackson.

Make sure there is enough information to distinguish him from the former head of Homeland Security Michael Jackon.

2. Include some entities on your page that are related to the entity that you are writing about.

So, If you write about Donald Trump, you might refer to Mike Pence, who is his Vice President.

And that association will help Google understand which Donald Trump you mean.

3. Make sure to include properties(facts) that are associated with your entity that fit that entity.

Things like date of birth, company worked for, job title, place of birth.

Make it easy for a search engine to understand more about the entity you are talkiing about.

Whats ur go to methods for image seo?

1. Optimize the image size so that it isn’t tool large, and still shows clearly.

2. Make sure that is a meaningful image, as in “an image says a thousand words.: Does it fit what you are trying to say when placed on a page?

3. Include what it is an image of in the file name for the image?

4. Use Alt Text attribute values that describe the image well,and what is happening it it.

5. A Caption discribing why you inluced an image on a page can be helpful

6. It’s possible that Google may be reading Image-based text for some images.

But don’t rely upon they doing that, because it may be computationally expensive for them to do that.

Make sure you include any text like that in text on your page, including in captions and alt attributes.

7 Associated text on the same page as the image should reflect what is is about, too.

Including the page title, headings on the page, and page content.

How do you apply information you get from Google Patents in SEO?

I read though those patents carefully, and look up the inventors in linked in to find out more about them.

I Google the inventors to see if they have written white papers about the same subject.

I check the patent web site to see if there are any related patents.

The patents will sometimes say that there are related ones, and sometimes the inventors of a patent will work on more thatn one covering related tooics.

Try to understand the topic of the page, and what type of search it related to.

Does it cover organic searh, news search, local search, Semantic Search, Google Scholar?

This is really important, to be about to understand the contxt of a patent, because it is not always clear.

I try to understand where the patent may be used, if there are any white papers that provide more details.

Any Google support pages or Google Developer pages that explain more.

I also see if the patent leaves me with any questions or tests that I want to try out.

Sometimes it may mot be obvious how a patent might be helpul.

But you may see something that puts it into contest days, months or evenh years later.

What are your thoughts around the latest algo update? Currently seeing a lot of hypotheses but nothing concrete. Any thoughts?

We have been given some information when it comes to what Google is referring to Core Updates.

We are being told that improving the quality of sites can go a long way towards helping with the negative impacts that we see from such updates.

The questions from this Google Blog post are examples of the kinds of questions that we have been told we should ask ourselves about our sites:…/more-guidance-on…

The first three are:

Would you trust the information presented in this article?

Is this article written by an expert or enthusiast who knows the topic well, or is it more shallow in nature?

Does the site have duplicate, overlapping, or redundant articles on the same or similar topics with slightly different keyword variations?

There are more of those, and being able to answer those, aif if you don’t have good answers.

Improve the content on those pages so that you can answer them is the kind of thing that Google is aiming for with their updates.

Any idea how Google engineers test their algorithms before deploying them?

Yes, they can plan ahead and run limited tests with a small percentagge of searchers over the course of a day (so many thousands of people.)

They can collect data, such as what people clicked upon to evaluate the results of those tests.

They can also, after implementing a test that they have tried out.

Look at answers from quality raters to see if there are problems with algorithms that they may have changed or updated.

What is the role of “entities” in evaluation of relevance? I mean, if I mention some relevant brands in the text about best [product], will it be considered more relevant?

Google can collect information about entities, including facts about properties of those entities.

Or their relationships with other entities, and answer queries regarding those things.

Such as “What Movie Does Robert Duval say I love the smell of Napalm in the morning?” Google doesn’t try to match those words for that query into documents.

But can search the knowledge graph for movies that Robert Duval acted in, and famous quotes from those movies, to answert that query.

If you create a page about a product and provide somme examples of related products or entities, that may help Google understand the content you create better.

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Do you think that Google’s algo is looking at sentiment analysis of texts as well as looking for dominant emotions in texts as part of their matching search query to potential best fits?

Google does use some limited sentiment analysis, such as understanding an scoring sentiment in snippets from reviews.

To display those in knowledge panels, but it’s questionable as to whether they are using sentiment to rank any search results.

When you search for “Best Science Fiction Movies” Googlem may show a carousel of science fiction mores.

But will not rank them, from best to worst.

They might show pages that claim to show which mories are the best, but Google doesn’t seem to be ranking entities based upon their opinions of them.

What is SEO?

SEO is marketing with an understanding of how it is found and shared on the web.

It is an initialism for Search Engine Optimization, which implies that pages and images can be optimized in ways that are potentially better than others.

But SEO should ideally be done with a good understanding of the targeted audience that content is for.

And what they might find interesting enough to share with others, take action upon such as buying or being informed by, and possibly link to as well.

How Do u outline an article after keyword research?

I have some older articles, but will be presenting in Milan Italy in 2 Weeks about keyword research.

My presentation is turning out well, and you may find it useful.

I am including some fairly new ideas in it, and some older advice that sitll works.

I will post that to my slideshare account the third week of November..

Could you share a link to that in this group? Or let me know how I can subscribe to your list or distribution channel to access that sideshare link?

Here is my slideshare account:

The conference is the second week of November, and while most of that presentation is likely completed.

I have a few days to potentially add more to it and don’t want to share it until I am sure that it is completed.

So Check that slideshare profile the third week of November.

What’s one post you’ve written that you wish more people had read and why?

This is one I think is helpful:…/guide-to-biggest-seo-myths…/

My question is still nofollow links dont pass linkjuice.. But they pass relevance right? Is there a Google bot which checks for relevancy on nofollow links and still helps ranking?

With the switch from a directive to a hint, Google can decide whether to pass along PageRank.

As a directive they didn’t have that option. With sites such as Wikipedia making all external links nofollow, and others doing the same thing.

Google can decide that those links should have value, and should pass along PageRank now.

This is what people From Google were saying about the change.

In your opinion, what’s the best (and/or quickest) way to rank a relatively new site (one created within the last 6 months say)? Is quality over quantity a winning short-term strategy given the resources required to produce high-quality content and the limited pages that can be created with this approach in the short term?

Create A site that is very helpful and provides meaningful information that can be acted upon.

The best Example I can think of is a Tsunamiblog that that was started after some terrible Tsunamis took place in the Pacific.

It provide very timely and up to date information, and information about relief efforts and how to help, and a lot of people wanted to help.

Another site that I saw being very succcessful after a short time was by an appellate lawyer.

Who took legal stories from major newspapers, and explained the details behind those stories, from a legal perspective.

It developed a large audience (a lot of attorneys) very quickly, and the author ended up selling it to a larger legal site, like Nolo.

What is your best link building strategy?

Building great content that people want to link to because it is timely, informative, interesting and meets their curiousty.

What do you think the top 5 ranking factors are for organic listings (non local) How much does the google algo take into account schema on a page? is it a strong ranking factor?

Google has many algorithms, and some may consider schema more than others.

Google may for some queries start by just searching structured data, in which case it could be really important.

Google may also augment some query results with additional results that are based upon structured bdays on pages.

I don’t think SEO will die until people stop seeing a need to search for things, which I don’t see happening any time soon.

E-A-T. There seems to be massive confusion around this topic. A lot of seo’s claim that E-A-T is not a ranking signal. What’s your take on this?

Nothing special that isn’t any different from the echo chamber of answers online that eat is not a ranking signal.

But rather wha Google is trying to see if human quality raters are seeing in search results.

Well maybe a little different.

If you think businesses as entities, some entitie are more reliable than others.

Facts associate with them have more confidence about that they are correct, and likely to be true.

Like the assocation scores I described in this post:…/